Life Sketch by Mae Rawlins Jorgensen
Cora May Burbank Rawlins was born 1 July 1879 in Brigham City, Utah. She was the fifth child of Daniel Mark Burbank Jr. and Mary Jane Lindsay. She was one of 21 children born to a polygamist family. The two wives were sisters. Mother knew the privations and hardships of pioneer living.
When Mother was 12 or 13 years old her Father moved Aunt Adeline's family from Deweyville to Bennington, Bear Lake County, Idaho. Because the U.S. Marshals were after those with more than one wife, Grandfather's visits to Grandmother's family were few, and then mostly at night. Grandmother and her family had to take care to themselves in Deweyville.
Mother's education was in the Deweyville schools. She said they took the subjects they wanted, she hadn't liked English, but liked History and Geography. She said they often killed rattlesnakes with rocks going to and from school, but later was afraid of a little water snake.
Mother had visited in Bennington with her Aunt's family and when her Father decided to take their family to Bennington she was unhappy. The winters there were long and cold. They missed the fruit and gardens they bad had in Deweyville. Often the crops froze.
At age 17, Mother and her half-sister Della went with their Mother's cousin Pachael Lindsay, affectionately called "Auntie Rae", to Glens Ferry, Idaho to work in a railroad eating place. This was quite an experience for two country girls. I don't remember Mother telling how much money they earned but it probably seemed a lot to them.
Mother told of Grandfather butchering for others and being paid in heart, liver and tongue. Sometimes she didn't eat when she knew her Father had been butchering. Fish was another food she had so much of as a child that she never ate it later on. Father liked fish, Mother would cook fish but not eat it.
Mother's sister Laura married Oscar Pope and they lived in High Creek. Mother came to stay with them. Oscar Pope was a brother to Aunt Mary Ann Rawlins. That was how Dad met Mother.
Father and Mother were married 5 March 1902 in the Logan Temple. They went to live in the Rawlins family home in Lewiston where the aging parents lived. Grandfather Rawlins was then 77 and blind and Grandmother Rawlins was 72. Grandfather had never seem Mother.
When Owen was a baby, Father's Sister-In-Law Leona Rawlins died leaving an infant daughter. Mother took the baby to nurse, but the baby passed away in a few weeks.
Early in their marriage, Father and Mother planted an orchard. Father said he took so long making sure the rows were straight that Mother had a sun stroke. The trees are gone now, but I remember the apple trees, the pie cherries and the apricot tree that never bore fruit. In my memory Mother always had a good garden.
When Aerial was about 14 years old, Father was stricken with rheumatism and was unable to work. Mother had to feed the cows and do the chores when the boys were in school. Mother told of turning all the chairs over before she left the house but when she returned Reed had managed to climb up into the top of the cupboard. One day Father decided if she had to do his work he would help her with her work, so he took her knitting and carefully slipped the stitches from one needle to another which of course didn't help much.
Mother was in the Relief Society Presidency for 8 years. Lewiston First Ward covered a large area and Relief Society teaching was done with horse and buggy. This was truly a project. Mother taught primary for 12 years, most of the time a teacher of the boys. She took her classes to the canyon, on excursions, picnics and provided for ball games for them.
In September 1906 her brother Ruben was working in Trenton and became ill. He came to Mother's home, she did what she could for him but he died of typhoid fever.
Grandfather Rawlins died in September 1913 at the age of 88. Grandmother Rawlins died in April 1920, 24 days before her 90th birthday. Except for short visits with their other children they lived in the same house as Mother and Father.
Grandfather Burbank lived with in the winter time in his later years and did Temple Work going to and from Logan on the U & I C railroad. Grandpa took his turn at family prayer which he always closed with "save us in Thy Celestial Kingdom."
The following children were born to Mother and Father:
- Aerial Alfonzo born 27 Nov 1902
- Owen Woodruff born 10 August 1904
- Horace Burbank born 30 January 1907
- Howard Frost born 13 March 1909
- Mae born 27 September 1911
- Reed LeGrand born 20 November 1913
- Ruth born 3 March 1918
- Lindsay Marcus born 19 January 1920
Ruth died 11 November 1918 at 8 months. This was the day of the end of World War 1. We were one of the few families in Lewiston not rejoicing that day. It was at the time of the flu and no public gatherings were allowed. The funeral was held on the front porch and in the front yard.
Lindsay was just a few weeks old when Aerial came home from High School with the flu. He went upstairs to bed away from the family. Mother and the baby went to stay with George and Nellie Rawlins. Grandmother Rawlins was ill in bed. Eve Nielson was our hired girl and Aunt Mint came to help with Grandmother. Aerial said Aunt Mint was the only person he saw till he was well and downstairs again. It was good to have Mother and the baby home again. Grandmother passed away 4 April of that year.
With team and white top buggy Mother and some of her children would drive from Lewiston to Bennington to visit her Mother, leaving the others at home with Father. This was a two day journey. I remember camping out all night somewhere in Mink Creek Canyon.
Owen remembers Mother riding horses. She could gallop the horse seated side even bare back. She could put her hands on the horses weathers and jump upon its back.
She took us with team and buggy on many excursions to pick choke cherries and wild currants. Also to gather wild flowers for Memorial Day on the foothills or river meadows.
Mother took advantage of instructions given through the extension service of USU in food preservation and homemaking. She canned hundreds of quarts of string beans which added variety and nutrition to our winter meals.
The winter of 1936-37 is remembered as long, cold and stormy. Mother passed away 11 February 1937 after months of suffering. She has given devoted care to Father in his illness and passing. We knew she was tired and when she steadily felt worse we learned she had cancer. Reed was on a mission in South Carolina and I was expecting my second child we two were not at her funeral. Five of her sons-in-law were her pallbearers.